Hey... My name is Andy Revering, and I'm a 29 year old weather-aholic.
I've been a meteorology student both privately and in educational institutions my whole life. I've been a storm chaser for 13 years (since 1995) and have been a part of several great weather related business ventures.
I started out writing weather software in 1996 with my friend from high school Erik Spieker. We came up with a idea for a piece of software called AlertMe. AlertMe was a big hit in its day, before Weatherbug came around. I was so excited about this application idea. The only problem was that I didn't know how to program! So I taught myself Visual Basic 4. Eventually the program came about after a year of work on it. Now we needed a company name.
I had been using the web site 'aprweather.com' as a personal web site. It wasn't any great corporate thing... it was just my first 3 initials and 'weather'. But it kind of stuck. The web site was very thorough. I had over 600 pages and thousands of hits a day back then. So we decided to call the company APRWeather, with our flagship product, AlertMe.
Well my friend wasn't as in to weather as I was, so I bought him out for a few hundred dollars and I was now a sole proprietor. I changed the company name to Convective Development because it sounded like something that would have a software development ring to it, with a splash of meteorology (if you know what convection is).
New products became my obsession. Ever since I was a kid I was trying to figure out how to forecast with accuracy. The problem was that I didn't know anything! So I taught myself about meteorology, or at least what I thought meteorology was. I started a spreadsheet of parameters for severe storms and began using my observations to determine what made severe storms and tornadoes. After about 5 years of this and the ability to program; I wrote a program called.... APRWeather! Wow. What a unique name!
This application allowed you to download soundings from sites that launched balloons and the program would parse out the data and tell you if it was a severe atmosphere. It wasn't very good at it either.
AlertMe was still the program of choice, but I kept trying with new ideas. WarnMe I believe was the next venture. This was an obsession of mine for a year and a half. I would work 8-16 hours a day on this idea. It was a subscription based service that would allow a user to sign up for up to 20 different watches, warnings, statements and advisories for a set of counties they define. This was a big hit with over 2,000 subscribers in just a short time of it's launch. Unfortuantely people didn't want to pay for all my hard work, so WarnMe eventually died. Of course my timing was bad, as every TV station and company out there came out with the same thing and either provided a better service or provided it for free. Damn competition!
I made a good friend in Rory Groves, owner of SwiftWX, LLC. Rory and I would work together here and there on business ideas while maintaining a friendly distance so we were not to step on each other's toes. Unfortunately I stepped a bit when I came out with StormGuide. StormGuide was a software app that basically gave you what you'd want to know while storm chasing. It would take your GPS coordinates and tell you where the nearest severe storm was, give you a plot of warnings, etc. It was a hack job of Swift that really wasn't that useful anyway. I quickly removed the product from my product line as I realized it was too closely related to Swift. Friendship is more important than a few bucks. I maintain a good relationship with Rory today.
AlertMe still being the only product to stand still needed a partner product. Then I thought... why not just upgrade AlertMe. By now Weatherbug was out and likely going to crush my income being a free thing, with cute chirping noises. So I had the idea... why not incorporate model data in this thing and start creating graphics like all of the weather web sites we all use? Well... because Visual Basic cannot handle that kind of tall order.
So I settled for upgrading AlertMe to AlertMe Pro, which fixed a few bugs, added some features, and made it much more user friendly and pretty like Weatherbug in a sense. This went over pretty well and has revitilized AlertMe.
Meanwhile the idea of a model product viewer had been nagging at me. The idea just sounded too cool to not attempt. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do it with my coding skills. That's when I met Nick Benson. Nick had been working on a web site for fun which generated weather graphics. He was able to render the graphics in a fraction of a second. Wow!
It was a perfect business relationship. We talked about it and decided that what ideas we had were going to revolutionize Convective Development, so we became partners.
I handled the data end of things obtaining the raw files, extracting them, performing calculations and running functions against the provided data to return parameters we wanted to plot.. format it in something Nick can use, and then hand it over to Nick to create the maps we would eventually brand F5Data.
Nick and I have recently decided to go our separate ways. Our priorities in our lives have changed and I have taken over the company completely. In response to this the web based version of F5Data no longer exists, and I have transitioned over to a more robust software based viewer called simply F5. A plugin for F5 is the F5Data feed.
...and that's where we are today.
During my business story years I also became good friends with Peggy Willenberg and Melanie Metz. I met them in 2001 when I created a storm chaser email list for Minnesota storm chasers called MN-Chase. We became good friends and thought that we had the skills necessary for providing guided storm chase tours. So we did! We started a company called Upper Midwest Storm Tours, LLC. which went by stormtours.com.
We did this for a couple years before I decided I needed a break from the storm tour business. Peggy and Melanie now call themselves the Twister Sisters.
I remain a avid storm chaser, student of meteorology, and even a contract storm chaser for the local ABC affiliate in Minneapolis (KSTP).
I recently got engaged to a beautiful woman who I'm madly in love with and am no longer on the market... but I still enjoy moonlight walks around the pond and eating italian food.
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